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Rent-Seeking Origins of Central Banks: The Case of the Federal Reserve System

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  • Tomas Otahal

    () (Department of Economics, Faculty of Business and Economics, Mendel University in Brno)

Abstract

What were the purposes for establishment of central banks? Central banks are historically relatively young organizations. Their main purposes are to regulate money supply through interest rates, regulate the banking sector and act as a lender of last resort to banking sector during the time of financial crises. Historical evidence suggests that in the second half of 19th century in the USA private clearing houses were able to provide the banking sector with similar services. In this paper, we follow such evidence and provide Public Choice explanation for establishment of central banks. On the historical example of establishment of the Federal Reserve System we show that the motivation for establishment of the Federal Reserve System might be rather political instead of economic. More precisely, we argue that the Federal Reserve System was established to allow the American Federal Government to control rent- distribution through money supply control and banking sector regulation.

Suggested Citation

  • Tomas Otahal, 2011. "Rent-Seeking Origins of Central Banks: The Case of the Federal Reserve System," MENDELU Working Papers in Business and Economics 2011-08, Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:men:wpaper:08_2011
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    File URL: http://ftp.mendelu.cz/RePEc/men/wpaper/08_2011.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. George A. Selgin & Lawrence H. White, 1994. "How Would the Invisible Hand Handle Money?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1718-1749, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tomas Otahal & Vaclav Rybacek, 2011. "Can Tight and Centralized Financial Regulation Prevent Financial Crises? Czech Government Bond Seignorage in the Historical Perspective," MENDELU Working Papers in Business and Economics 2011-14, Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Business and Economics.
    2. Louise Parsons, 2013. "Developments in central banking after the GFC: central banks, the state, globalisation and the GFC," Chapters,in: Globalisation, the Global Financial Crisis and the State, chapter 10, pages 218-242 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Federal Reserve System; financial markets institutions; historical example; rent-seeking;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • N21 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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